Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tugboat Printshop's "Farm Barge" and "Surf"

Images used with the permission of the artists. Tugboat Printshop is the two-artist team of Valerie Lueth and Paul Roden. They are based in Pittsburgh and sell limited edition color woodcuts from their online store. Click the link above to learn their story and view/purchase more of their amazing prints.
The style of Lueth and Roden's collaborative images is always very tight and stylized, and I find it most fascinating and surreal when they depict vapor or fluid. I included a second print, "Surf" to further display the tendency to make that which is loose, solid. This has a particular logic to it when depicting a wave, as waves often behave as if they are solid objects, such as when they allow surfers to literally ride on top of them, or when they do tremendous damage to solid structures during a storm. The three-layered wave in "Surf" seems not only to be solid, but to have perhaps come alive, by virture of its feathery texture, lively colors, and animated position.

In "Farm Barge" the clouds in this sky seem like clusters of various-sized wheels, rolling along an invisible track. They appear to have so much weight to them, and I can't shake the feeling that they could suddenly drop from the sky, pummeling the floating farm into wreckage.

The waves unroll like carpets. Or maybe more like a roll of dense and heavy linoleum. Movement is slowed down to a crawl - I can almost hear a creak - and I more profoundly contemplate this particular moment in time. These forces (atmosphere and water) are captivating in their elusive movements and ever-changing forms. But they are intimidating for the same reason. They are tremendously powerful, and we are at their mercy. But we can learn to work with nature. Gather energy from the wind. Sail on the seas.  Today is a bright and colorful day.

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